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Manuscripts by Subject - Military - #10564

Title: Irma A. Block

Dates: 1933-1957

Collection Number: 10564

Quantity: .5 feet

Abstract: Military photos taken by Irma Block while serving as an army nurse in Hawaii before and during the WWII attack at Pearl Harbor, correspondence, a prayer book, newspaper clippings and ephemera.

Provenance: The State Archives received the Irma Block Collection in 1991 as a transfer from the Museum Division.

Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements are needed.

This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.


Irma A. Block was born September 16, 1911 in St. Claire, Minnesota to Joseph T. and Alma Sunbury Block. After graduating from St. Cloud High School she attended the University of Minnesota, School of Nursing where in 1932 she became a registered nurse. She enlisted as a lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps in December 1940 and was assigned to Scofield Barracks Army Hospital in Hawaii in November 1941. After her World War II service she returned to the University of Minnesota and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 1947 and later a Master’s degree in Public Health in 1957.
She was a Public Health Nurse in Bottineau for the First District Health Unit and transferred to Minot where she worked from 1950-1956. She then moved to Bismarck to work at the North Dakota Health Department, Division of Nursing. She was appointed division director in 1969, a position she held until her retirement in 1976.
Irma retired from the Army Reserves with the rank of Lt. Colonel after serving as Chief of Nursing Service of the 311th General Hospital Army Reserve Unit, Fort Lincoln, for many years.
Irma Block died in Bismarck February 25, 1981 and was buried at Fort Snelling National Cemetery with full military honors.


Box 1:
1 Photos 1933-1969
a. Fort Berthold 1950s: bridge across the Missouri, ceremonial Indian dance, picnic Fort Berthold, old Fort Berthold Indian powwow, men on horses
b. Eisenhower in Minot 1953
c. family and friends 1937-1968: 1st car 1949 or 1950; Millie Bierstecker ? Hospital; Irma 1968; 1957 master’s degree; Paul Bunyan at the picnic; Millie Staggs wedding bridesmaid; Hotel Roane Wallace, Idaho vacation 1937; Minneapolis General nurse quarters; 1929 high school grad; Irma when still in training at the university; 3 generations ca. 1946
d. post-war public health: 4-H camp Lake Metigoshe 1948 or 1949; Irma; 1st District H unit
2 portraits  of Irma Block 1933-1941
3 Military photos 1940-1968
a. Fort Custer 1940-1941: includes shot of nurses’ mess
b. Fort Mason, Camp Claiborne, LA
c. SS Etolin going to Hawaii 1941
d. Scofield. Oahu, HA 1941-1946: includes Eleanor Roosevelt; promotion to 1st Lieutenant 1943
e. Mt. Kiliuac military camp, leave 1941
f. Mt. View Station Hilo, HA 1942
g. homeward bound Sept. 1946
h. Rhodes General Hospital Utica NY 1945-1946
i. Fort Carson CO 1959
j. Bison Reserve Center 1968; Grassy Butte post office 1966
4 Ephemera 1942-1981: includes invitation, newspaper clipping, and program from Irma’s funeral.
5 Ephemera, war-related, 1941, n.d.
6 Book of Prayers belonging to Alma Nicholson, Irma’s mother
7  New Testament, The Army Nurse Corps Yesterday and Today by Mary M. Roberts, R.N., Strength for Service To God and Country
8 ND State Nurses Convention 1981
9 Translation of Diary of Nebu Tatsuquuchi Imperial Japanese Army Medical Officer 1941-1942
10 Newspaper clippings, military and Pearl Harbor
11 Army Nurse’s Prayer
12 Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association Convention 35th Anniversary 1941-1976
13 Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association: “White Caps: Sketches” by Anna Urda Busby
14 Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association newsletter, Pearl Harbor-Gram 1967-1976

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